Students at Elgin High School are learning about the importance of managing and budgeting their money through a program called “Banzai”. It’s provided by Fort Sill Credit Union, and is a web-based financial literacy class aimed at middle and high school students.
There are currently 15 schools in Comanche County that provide the program to over 600 students.
The program is being highlighted now, during National Financial Literacy Month, an annual effort to highlight the importance of financial education and help Americans develop healthy personal finance skills.
Banzai is a computer or smart phone based program that shows students lessons of real life situations like what to do if you have a flat tire, or if you are short on rent. During the program students receive a paycheck, and have to divide that check into jars for expenditures they may have. The jars range from food, rent, car, reserves, utilities, and other. Elgin Junior Taylor Rose Tracy-Carroll said Banzai taught her to expect the unexpected.
“I recently had to get a job and using this program allowed me to manage my money better because I wasn’t very good at that then again what teenager is. So I’ve been able to put money aside,” Tracy-Carroll said.
“Defiantly managing my money, budgeting certain things, not going out as much trying to save all my money because college tuition is really expensive,” Hibeler said.
“I’m going to use that to help me out and find out where to keep my money,” Statler said.
Cheri Gebhart teaches Family Consumer Sciences at Elgin High School and put Banzai into her lesson plan about three weeks ago, hoping to help her senior students realize how hard it can be to save money.
“Kids now a days they eat out, they don’t think about cars breaking down, air conditioning going out, renters insurance and this program hits all that stuff,” Gebhart said.
“I had no idea ! I learned so much new stuff I didn’t know anything in the book so I would have been stuck honestly if I was out in real life,” Murphy said.
Gebhart says it makes her feel good that she was able to impact students lives.
“I figured if I got one child who goes out into this world and is successful with finances then I have done my job.”
Gebhart said the program has been so successful that she plans to use it next year. As a reward for completing the program The Fort Sill Credit Union is providing a pizza party for the students at Elgin.